Select Page

How to Handle Child Education Decisions After Divorce

by | Oct 15, 2019 | child custody and support, Family Law Attorney, News and Events

It’s common for ex-spouses co-parenting on Long Island to disagree about many aspects of raising their child post-divorce. When it comes to your child’s education, however, the stakes are raised because their long-term future may potentially be impacted. Here’s how you can handle disagreements about your child’s education with your ex-spouse and how to get help from an experienced Long Island divorce lawyer.

Establish Who Has Legal Custody

First and foremost, it’s critical to understand who has legal custody of your child. It may be either you or your ex-spouse, or you may share legal custody. Be aware that legal and physical custody are not the same; if you have sole physical custody, you may still share legal custody.

In cases of joint legal custody, both you and your ex-spouse must agree on your child’s education. If you don’t, this becomes a contested issue that requires resolution either via mediation or litigation. If only one parent has legal custody, they can make decisions about the child’s education even if the other parent disagrees.

Divorce Attorney Consultation

Eliminate Arguments In Front of Your Child

Arguments between ex-spouses in front of their child or children can be detrimental, especially when they’re regarding issues regarding the child, such as visitation arrangements, health care, and education. Make a point to keep discussions about your child with your ex-spouse private. If things become heated while around your child, table the discussion temporarily and pick it back up when you’re in a more conducive environment to work things out. This is a good rule of thumb to use both during the divorce process while things are still very raw and after the divorce has been finalized to keep interactions drama-free.

Be Flexible When Possible

You and your ex-spouse may need to reach a compromise regarding your child’s education, especially if you share legal custody. Whenever possible, be flexible. Make an effort to understand your ex-spouse’s point of view. As an example: perhaps the current school your child goes to is far from your ex-spouse’s new home, making it very difficult to transport the child to and from school during visitation time. Stick to your guns when it matters most (for example, if your child’s safety is at risk at the school closest to your ex-spouse) and give a little when a compromise can still work well for your family.

Special Needs Education Considerations

Special needs children often require a more individualized education plan, which can be challenging for separated parents. Take these needs into account when making decisions about your child’s education. For example, if the school your ex-spouse prefers has a better special needs program than the school that is closest to you, it may be best to compromise unless the better school is very far or has other glaring issues that won’t work for your child. The other guidelines here also apply to special needs children: avoid arguing in their presence and be flexible about education decisions when you can.

If Your Child Is Old Enough, Ask What They Want

If your child is “of age,” New York family courts will often consider their wishes when making determinations about custody, visitation, and other important matters, including education. Contrary to popular belief, children age 13 and over cannot formally make custody decisions on Long Island; a judge still makes the final decision and has veto power if the child’s desires aren’t feasible. However, judges do heavily consider the wishes of older children, so ask your child what their education preferences are. Do they like a particular school because the teachers are more helpful, or because they have established friends? When your child’s wishes align with their best interests, allowing them to choose or even simply weigh-in can help them feel supported and advocated for.

Fighting About Education? Let Our Experienced Long Island Divorce Law Firm Help

If you and your ex-spouse disagree about one or more factors related to your child’s education, it’s important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you better understand your post-divorce legal rights and custody limitations, as well as assist you in petitioning for a modification of your divorce decree. Contact our Long Island law firm now for a complimentary divorce and family law consultation at 631-923-1910.

Call 631-923-1910 or fill in the form below

Schedule your complimentary consultation and case evaluation with our experienced attorneys today. When you call, you’ll speak to our friendly Client Services Director, who will be able to answer your general questions and set up your appointment with an attorney who specializes in your unique case.

At your meeting, your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

No Cost or Obligation

There is no cost or obligation for this initial consultation. It is simply an opportunity for us to get to know each other, answer your questions and learn if Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. is right the right law firm for you. Give us a call at 631-923-1910 or fill in the short form below to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.

All Fields Are Required

Divorce Lawyer Attorney Long Island NY Courts Open
Divorce Lawyer Long Island New York



Google Review of divorce longisland
Anastasia R
Anastasia R
22:45 17 Dec 20
I went to see Rob for a modification for my child custody agreement to relocate, I can honestly say that working with Rob and Christine has been the best experience. I cannot recommend them enough I only wish I had seen them sooner. They are prompt with communication, and they are honest which I appreciate so much. They do not give you fake promises and they do their best to fight for what you want which they do amazingly well! You can tell they are passionate about what they do and care about their clients. A very important aspect of lawyer client relationship for me is an open line of communication, the anxiety of the unknown always gets the best of us. The fact they were always available whether it be phone call or email to answer any question was extremely comforting and exactly what I needed. I am not well versed with laws and regulation so knowing I had Rob and his partners there when I was unsure or conflicted was extremely needed and greatly appreciated.When it comes to family court it's never easy but having Rob and his partner by my side I felt extremely comfortable and he helped me have realistic expectations. Please TRUST HIM!! If you're looking for a lawyer (at least for my end from child custody/Family Court) don't look any further you will not be disappointed. I hope to never have to use them again but in the event I have to, they are going to be my forever first call.
Sam Berg
Sam Berg
15:42 16 Sep 20
I hired Robert to handle a child custody and child support matter. He was prompt and professional and was able to achieve a result that 3 prior attorneys could not. He and his staff made a stressful situation easy. I highly recommend his office.


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



divorce questions answered



Long Island Divorce Guide

Fill the form to download Guide

* indicates required


Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., P.C. respects your right to privacy. We will never sell your information to any third party. Follow this link to read our full privacy policy.


Child Support & Spousal Maintenance Tools
Spousal Maintenance Calculator
Child Support Calculator

Pin It on Pinterest